amira ayad, md
Why did you pursue obesity medicine certification?
I had my family medicine residency training in West Virginia, obesity rate is very high, very complicated cases in the emergency room with multiple comorbidities associated with morbid obesity. I felt I needed more training to treat the main reason for those patients comorbidities which is obesity, instead of adding more medications to their long existing medication list. After finishing residency in a primary care outpatient setting in California I started studying for the obesity medicine certification. I took my obesity medicine board exam in December 2013.
Many doctors have told us about the “aha” moment that stimulated their interest in obesity medicine. Do you have an obesity medicine “aha” moment that sticks out in your memory?
Multiple occasions finding my patients struggling with obesity had been strong stimulating moments to seek more medical knowledge to help those patients to find a healthy medical way to fight their continuous battle with obesity.
How do you currently incorporate your obesity medicine training into your practice?
I am currently the medical director of the bariatric program of Adventist health in Bakersfield, California and my current practice is mainly bariatric medicine seeing patients preparing for bariatric surgery, before and after surgery, and also patients that are not surgical candidates for medical weight management.
Why do you believe obesity medicine certification is valuable?
Obesity medicine certification is valuable to gain the knowledge about obesity medicine including its physiology, etiology, and complications, study proper medical management of obesity, understand surgical options, understand the psychological part of those patients and adapt the tools to address the obesity problem properly.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your practice?
The biggest challenge in my practice is that obesity medicine cases are time-consuming considering all the comorbidities associated and considering the psychological impact of obesity. This could be affecting the number of patients that I can see daily.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I have a great achievement every day in my practice. I enjoy every single case that I make a significant change in their life and I get feedback from my patients sharing how their life had totally changed and how they are currently able to be on a shorter list of medications after losing the weight and being able to move easier and to participate in more physical activities and to enjoy a better quality of life.
What do you wish other physicians knew about treating obesity?
I wish all physicians realized that obesity is a complicated medical problem that needs a lot of attention and care. Treating it can prevent a lot of comorbidities. Understand that patients with obesity don’t always choose to be obese, there are many factors causing obesity and working with those patients gradually can lead to great results. Obesity is a chronic medical problem that needs continuous care.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with obesity medicine?
My experience in obesity medicine is an ongoing learning experience. The obesity medicine field will have more and more research and results to come, more pharmaceutical options, more surgical options, and more intervention. I am very excited to be part of this field.
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